A former Westhampton Middle School gym teacher who admitted filming girls changing in a locker room earlier this year was spared prison time when he was sentenced Wednesday to five years probation.

Thomas Sheppard had pleaded guilty at Suffolk County court in October to unlawful surveillance, a felony, and seven counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.

Prosecutors, who recommended the 28-year-old Speonk man be sentenced to one and one-third to four years in prison, have said Sheppard used his cell phone to record the victims.

Sheppard will surrender his teaching license and Judge Barbara Kahn directed the defendant register as a sex offender.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.